The Electoral Commission has set tough strict guidelines to be followed by Presidential aspirants ahead of next week’s presidential nominations.
The Electoral Commission Chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama told a news conference that all the 10 verified contenders had promised to stick to the Ministry of Health’s Standard Operating Procedures on restricting gathering of people to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nomination of presidential candidates is slated for Monday and Tuesday November 2 and 3 respectively, at the Kyambogo University Sports Grounds starting at 9:00am ending at 5pm on each of the appointed dates.
Byabakama said access to the nomination venues will be restricted to very few national and international dignitaries, government officials and observers.
“An aspiring candidate will only be allowed into the nomination venue accompanied by not more than ten persons including the candidate, and these will be permitted only three vehicles for purposes of his /her nominations where each vehicle shall carry not more than four persons”.
Byabakama added: ‘’The aspirants shall be required to submit the particulars of those accompanying them , and all these in order to access the venue shall be required to present a 72hr PCR negative test for Covid19.”
He said government agreed to meet the costs of testing for COVID-19 for all presidential aspirants and their supporters.
He noted however that those candidates who feel uncomfortable with the Ministry of Health procedures, are free to seek testing services at authorised private facilities but at their cost.
Byabakama used the meeting to warn aspiring candidates from mobilizing supporters to accompany them, noting that violating this rule risks setting them up for disqualification from the race.
Byabakama said however that the incumbent president Museveni shall be allowed to enter with all his cars and entourage in accordance with section 27(2) of the Presidential Act.
Byabakama called upon all agents and supporters to follow the guidelines that have been issued for nomination to enable the commission conduct the exercise in an orderly, peaceful and safe manner.
Speaking after the meeting, the NRM Secretary General Kasule Lumumba said they asked the EC to put the regulations and guidelines in writing to give a clear roadmap which shall be followed by all aspirants.
Byabakama advised candidates who may wish to meet their supporters in order to launch their manifestos, to organize and hold meetings not exceeding the limited attendance of at least 70 people in venues which have the set SOPs.
So far the verified and cleared candidates include Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of (NRM) , Tumukunde Henry KaKakurugu-Independent, Mwesigye Fred- independent, Mayambala Willy – Independent, Kabuleta Kiiza Joseph – independent, Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert, Independent, Katumba John – Independent, Kalembe Nancy Linda -Independent, Amuriat Oboi Patrick – Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Mugisha Muntu Gregg – Alliance for National Transformation (ANT).
According to Byabakama, all these will be given a lead car and some security detail for their own protection but no cash or a personal car as was the case in the past elections.